The picture on the left was taken about six and a half years ago. The picture on the right was taken in January of this year. Can you tell the difference? Lately, I’ve been posting about weight loss and positive changes, but you are on the wrong track if that is what you are looking for here. Oh, I have lost a lot of weight. I have worked hard and I am proud of that. Physically, I’ve never felt better. However, with both pictures, you aren’t seeing how sick I am.
On the left, I had never been diagnosed with depression or anxiety, yet I can tell from looking at my face and what was going on in my life that I was in the lowest point of my life, emotionally speaking, of course. Within a month of that photo being taken, I would hit a rock bottom that I am still not ready to share fully. It would also be my first steps to recovery which involved therapy, medication, and a lot of support from loved ones. This was the first time I learned the lesson of who walks away and who stays when it gets hard. I remember how much my dad, my stepmother, and my friend Beth helped me at that point. I’m sure there were others of you, so forgive me if I don’t name you, but those are the three that I really remember helping pull me through that dark time.
I had a few more low points in the intervening years. They never lasted very long, so it was comfortable to feel that I had walked through the worst of it. It never felt as bad as 2011 did.
I’ve shared before that last year was a tough one. I had strained relationships with some friends and some family members. I was unemployed for over five months and did not have a place to live (surviving on the kindness of friends and family) during that time. It was a tough, tough year, yet the depression and the anxiety never fully caught up with me.
Then I slowed down. I stood still. And they appeared. They were bigger and they were stronger than ever before.
I want to share why, but I haven’t processed all of the information yet. What I can say is that I experienced a childhood trauma so horrific that it would leave anyone reading this who knew me as a child shocked (and this is even beyond the childhood trauma I described in a previous blog post).
This is a very challenging time for me. The smiling face from that photo in January should not fool you. It is the face of a depressed, anxious and traumatized individual.
So, what’s the difference between the two photos? Well, the current me asks for help much sooner. The current me steals power from the darkness by speaking it into the light. The current me draws strength from vulnerability and truth. The current me has a plan in place for recovery and knows with 100% certainty that this is a chapter in my life, but it is not the entire book and it is not how the story ends.
What I am saying is that, I am stepping away for a little while. From blogging and my social media. I did this for awhile last year without making a formal announcement and I guess I hurt some feelings when I did that, so I wanted to explain why. I’m stepping away because I am not healthy right now (emotionally, I should qualify. Physically, I have never been better).
I will be back and I will share my story. I’m no longer afraid of protecting those who harmed me.
Why do I share these things? Why don’t I just keep these unpleasant topics to myself? It isn’t because I need attention. I do need support, but I don’t need attention. I do this because everyone reading this has either experienced a trauma like I did or knows someone who has. If you have experienced a trauma, I want you to know you aren’t alone. I want everyone to know that a smiling face can be hiding a lot. Ask questions. Offer support. Tell people that you love, support, and believe them.
I will be back and I will be strong enough to do all the things I have wanted to do. Build my own business. Achieve my fitness goals. Develop authentic relationships with people. Show people the real me.
One final note.
Someone told me recently to stop posting about myself so much. Apparently I sound ridiculous or embarrassing or I don’t know what. Well, to this I will say, from now on I will speak louder. I will speak more clearly. And if you can’t handle it, you are welcome to excuse yourself.
I love you all and I will be back to introduce you to the healthiest version of myself, physically and emotionally. I hope you will be around then!